Plant Based Summer Meal Tips

A recent survey conducted by Aramark found that more than 60 percent of respondents believe that vegan, vegetarian, and plant-forward (diets that feature vegetables as the center of the plate with smaller portions of meat) options are important to have. The majority of those surveyed also said that they believe these options are healthier and more environmentally-friendly than a diet heavy in animal products.

We all have our go-to summer dishes, but challenge yourself to experiment with new flavor combinations or cooking techniques. You might just find a new seasonal favorite. Here are a few tips:

STAY COOL: Cooking a hot meal inside during the heat of summer is no fun. With the oven roasting and pots simmering, the kitchen can sometimes be a place to avoid during hot summer days. It’s possible to prepare delicious, healthy meals on the hottest days – just turn off the oven, shut off the stove, and follow these “stay cool” tips.

Cool Beans: Canned pinto, cannellini, black, baked, and red kidney beans are already cooked and ready to eat. Naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber, beans are a main ingredient in summer delights, like classic three bean salad, made with red kidney, canned green and wax beans, or summer corn and black bean salad.

Seasonal Melons and Berries: Hydrate with cool, sweet and fiber-filled fruit. Blend smoothies made from seasonal summer strawberries, raspberries and blueberries or fresh honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon. Chilled fresh fruit is a great way to stay cool.

Cool Soups: Gazpachos made from seasonal fruits or veggies in the blender are cool, healthy and easy. Blend tomatoes, tomato juice, red wine vinegar and olive oil – or purée cantaloupe and top with pineapple and strawberry chunks.

KEEP FRUITS & VEGETABLES FRESHER LONGER:

It happens to everyone; you buy fresh produce and stick it in the refrigerator, only to find it a few weeks later, looking shriveled and rotten. These storage tips from AHA’s Healthy For Good™ will help keep summer fruit and veggies fresher longer.

Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are delicate and should not be washed until ready to eat. Keep in refrigerator in dry, covered containers.

Melons: Store cantaloupe and honeydew loose in the refrigerator, even before they’re cut. Watermelon can be kept in a dark, dry place away from other produce. Keep cut melon in the fridge.

Tomatoes: Always store at room temperature as the refrigerator will make them rot quickly. Keep loose in a bowl away from sun or heat (like the stove.)
Refrigerate all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled.

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